The scene on one Arizona highway looked like that of a Hollywood stunt as a prison bus crashes into a semi truck hauling chemicals. It looked like a huge disaster, but fortunately, no one was injured. A prison bus carrying around 50 inmates slammed into a rolled over semi-truck, sending the bus driver, a corrections officer and some 20 inmates to the hospital, authorities said Wednesday.
The view though was uplifting and meaningful after the carnage as inmates tended to the injured and even helped direct traffic, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety and KPNX. It was quite the sight to say the least.
All of the trouble began early in the morning as police received reports around 1 a.m. of a semi-truck that had rolled over on Interstate 8, State Trooper Kameron Lee said.
Moments later, the bus with inmates and two Department of Corrections staff members hit the truck as it lay in the westbound lanes of a busy interstate between Casa Grande and Gila Bend. The crash forced authorities to close the often crowded interstate for several hours while the mess was cleaned up.
Lee said the bus driver, whose name was not released, was seriously injured and taken to a Phoenix-area hospital. If you look at the picture of the bus, it’s a wonder that the driver made it at all. The front of the prison bus was completely destroyed, The Arizona Department of Public Safety did not have any details on the driver’s condition.
The minimum-security inmates were part of a work crew that had been on an assignment in Casa Grande and were being returned to the Lewis State Prison in Buckeye, west of Phoenix, according to Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux.
In addition to the bus driver, a corrections officer also was hospitalized, as were 20 inmates, Lamoreaux said. No updates were released on the inmates but the injuries are thought to be minor.
After a few hours, a few dozen of the uninjured prisoners were returned to the prison. The semi had been carrying herbicides, which spilled in the wreck. Officials say the material is not considered hazardous.